Vida (2007) noted that since the mid 1990s when Elisabeth Hirschman, expressed the need for researchers to explore the ‘dark-side’ of consumer behaviors, literatures investigating and explaining the various factors that influence consumer purchase behaviors, especially with regard to illegal or counterfeit products, have increased considerably. Building on the “willingness to pay” concept, Vida conceived explored consumers’ willingness to purchase fake products.
The author contended that demographic and socio-economic factors like age, gender, education, marital status, income and religiosity shape consumers’ attitude towards counterfeits, innovativeness (desire to be unique) and social pressure. These three, in turn, influence consumers’ willingness to purchase counterfeit products. Also, Xuemei and Veloutsou (2005) in their exploratory study, also reports that personal and social factors significantly influence consumers’ purchase behaviors.
The authors contended that personal and social factors such as: value consciousness, normality susceptibility, novelty seeking and collectivism, and five attitude measures: reliability of the product in question, functionality of the product, recognized social benefits of purchasing the product, risks of purchasing and legality of purchasing, influence consumer purchase of counterfeit products. The study found that novelty seeking significantly influences consumer purchase of counterfeits products due to the similar or sometimes, superior quality of counterfeit products.
Moreover, in a more elaborate study, Augusto de Matos, Ituassu and Rossi (2007) also found that price quality inference and previous experience, among others, significantly increases the chances of consumers purchasing fake products. This study, drawing from the findings of the studies mentioned above, contends that a consumer attitude towards counterfeit product greatly influences their purchase behavior.
It also hypotheses that previous experience with safety concerns, quality of counterfeits with respect to the price, and the intention to use counterfeits to test the product before purchasing the genuine brands, shape consumer attitudes towards counterfeit and subsequently, their purchasing of counterfeit products. Augusto de Matos, Ituassu and Rossi (2007) rightly point out that quality and price are two fundamental factors that shape consumer purchase behavior.
Traditionally, consumers believe that lower priced products are of lower quality, and this is largely the case with deceptive counterfeit products. However, with non-deceptive counterfeits products, consumers are offered products of similar or superior quality, compared to the genuine products, at lower prices. The combination of low price and high quality is bound to improve consumer attitudes towards counterfeits. For this reason, it is expected that: Counterfeits with superior quality enhances consumers’ perception and attitudes towards counterfeit products.
Safety concerns are one of the most important issues with counterfeit products. These products have been known to pose significant threat to consumer health and safety, especially when it concerns medications and household items. However, not all consumers consider counterfeit goods to be unsafe or dangerous. It is expected that: Consumers who consider counterfeit goods to be unsafe and dangerous will have unfavorable attitudes towards counterfeit products, and vice versa. Lastly, novelty seeking can also influence consumer attitude towards counterfeit products.
This feeling refers to individuals’ need for a sense of worth or social recognition; people always want to be seen as special and capable of affording material things. The increasing materialism in the world means that people that cannot afford the finer things of life feel unworthy. Since the presence of cheaper and yet quality counterfeit products provide the opportunity to afford these luxuries, individuals in the lower economic range are often willing to purchase such counterfeit products. Thus, it is expected that the sense of novelty influences consumer attitude towards counterfeit products.